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Cops bust man in the act of painting 'slave owner' on George Washington statue in Manhattan park
George Washington statue sits in Union Square Park in Manhattan. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Cops bust man in the act of painting 'slave owner' on George Washington statue in Manhattan park in broad daylight

Not just Confederate statues any more

As protests and riots have expanded across the country, so have the targets of demonstrators' ire.

First, rioters went after police-related items, especially precincts and cop cars.

Then their attention turned to Confederate flags and statues, as well as memorials to Christopher Columbus.

Now their list of unacceptable structures includes those dedicated to abolitionists, Founding Fathers, generals who defeated the Confederate South, and emancipators — and even a famous progressive president.

The most recent example reportedly occurred in Manhattan's Union Square Park where police say they busted a 37-year-old man Wednesday in the act of defacing the park's statue of George Washington in broad daylight, the New York Post reported.

According to the cops, the suspect was caught just shortly before noon writing "slave owner" on the statue and had bottles of paint, cans of spray paint, and multiple brushes.

The suspect, Richard Maye, the Post said, has been charged with "two counts of making graffiti, criminal mischief and other misdemeanor graffiti charges." According to the paper, Maye did not respond to requests for comment.

Efforts to to deface or tear down statues dedicated to American figures has grown exponentially over the last few weeks — often without apparent regard for the subject of the memorial.

For example, rioters in Washington, D.C., went after the Emancipation Memorial of Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday night and threatened to pull the "motherf***er" down on Thursday night. The memorial, which shows former President Lincoln and a free slave, was built in 1876 and paid for entirely by freed slaves who wanted to honor the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and friend of Lincoln, gave the keynote speech at the memorial's dedication.

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